Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA), through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa. Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, his ideas came to be known as Garveyism.
He campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across Africa and the political unification of the continent. He envisioned a unified Africa as a one-party state, governed by himself, that would enact laws to ensure black racial purity. Garvey was a controversial figure. Many in the African diasporic community regarded him as a pretentious demagogue and were highly critical of his collaboration with white supremacists, his violent rhetoric, and his prejudice against mixed-race people and Jews.
He nevertheless received praise for encouraging a sense of pride and self-worth among Africans and the African diaspora amid widespread poverty, discrimination, and colonialism. He is seen as a national hero in Jamaica, and his ideas exerted a considerable influence on movements like Rastafari, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Power Movement.
Some of the best quotes from Marcus Garvey are listed below.
- “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Always try to associate with people from whom you can learn something. All the knowledge that you want is in the world, and all you have to do is go and seek it.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Ambition is the desire to go forward and improve one’s condition. It is a burning flame that lights up the life of the individual and makes him see himself in another state. To be ambitious is to be great in mind and soul. To want that which is worthwhile and strive for it. To go on without looking back, reaching to that which gives satisfaction.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” – Marcus Garvey
- “God does not give people positions or jobs or good conditions such as they desire; they must do that for themselves. God does not build cities nor towns nor nations, nor homes, nor factories; men and people do that and all those who want must work for themselves and pray to God to give them strength to do it.” – Marcus Garvey
- “I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of your fate; if there is anything you want in this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it.” – Marcus Garvey
- “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Lift up yourselves, men, take yourselves out of the mire and hitch your hopes to the very stars themselves. Let no man pull you down, let no man destroy your ambition, because man is but your companion, your equal; man is your brother; he is not your Lord, he is not your sovereign master.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Men, there is much to live for, and there is much to die for. The man, the race of nation that is not prepared to risk life itself for the possession of an ideal, shall lose that ideal. If you, I repeat, must be free, you yourselves must strike the blow.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. Therefore, remove yourself as far as possible from ignorance and seek as far as possible to be intelligent.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Progress is the attraction that moves humanity.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Take advantage of every opportunity; where there is none, make it for yourself.” – Marcus Garvey
- “The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” – Marcus Garvey
- “The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.” – Marcus Garvey
- “The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.” – Marcus Garvey
- “There is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all effort to surround himself throughout life with the evidence of it; as of the individual, so should it be of the nation.” – Marcus Garvey
- “We must give up the silly idea of folding our hands and waiting on God to do everything for us. If God had intended for that, then he would not have given us a mind. Whatever you want in life, you must make up your mind to do it for yourself.” – Marcus Garvey
- “Whipped. It annoys me to be defeated; hence to me, to be once defeated is to find cause for an everlasting struggle to reach the top.” – Marcus Garvey
- “You at this time can only be destroyed by yourselves, from within and not from without. You have reached the point where the victory is to be won from within and can only be lost from within.” – Marcus Garvey